Rotary Club of Madison Welcomes UW & Edgewood Rotaract Clubs on March 5 2014

–article submitted by Mark Stover; photos by Moses Altsech and Jeff Smith

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The Downtown Rotary Club of Madison, WI got a glimpse of the future on Wednesday,March 5.  Students from the Rotaract Clubs of Edgewood College and UW-Madison took over the helm and the program.  Rotarians heard details about how the Rotaract Clubs got started, what they’ve been working on this year, and their respective plans for the future.

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Cory Kundert, President of the Edgewood College Rotaract explained that the word “Rotaract” is a mash-up of the words “Rotary” and “Action.”  True to the Rotary spirit, Rotaract members are all about taking action in showing how they live “Service Above Self.”

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The Edgewood College club members volunteer to support our Ethics Symposium, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Gilda’s Club.  They also support the good work of other groups like the Heifer Foundation, Combat Blindness International and Badger Honor Flight with fundraisers.

Brittni Palkert, President of the UW-Madison Rotaract Club, told a similar story about her group’s work.  The UW-Madison Rotaract Club got started as a merger of the International Student Business Association on campus with the Rotaract Club concept.  Members of the UW-Madison club volunteer in support of Wisconsin Public Television Pledge Drives; work with senior citizens in the Triangle area of Madison; and also support Relay for Life.

Brittni also mentioned work that the UW-Madison Club has done with a connection to an AIDS support group in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Fundraisers in Madison have gone to help students with AIDS in Africa attend trade schools and colleges so that they can become financially independent.  Contact Brittni if you’re interested in a yoga fundraiser they have going this spring!

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Both Presidents pointed out that the value of Rotaract has been to help their members gain skills and hone talents that are useful in their vocations.  Leadership and teamwork are critical components of keeping these self-managed groups operating effectively.  In a video of former Rotaractors from both clubs, this theme of preparing for professional lives came through for the former treasurer of the Madison club (now a financial analyst for Kohl’s Corporation).

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Finally, hats off to Dan Larson, Moses Altsech, Dick Pearson, and Jacqui Sakowski for the many hours of support they have provided to the two clubs.  Our Rotary and global future looks very bright indeed based on the people we met today.

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What is Rotaract?  Rotaract is a club for adults ages 18-30 that meets twice a month to exchange ideas, plan activities and projects, and socialize. While Rotary clubs serve as sponsors, Rotaract clubs decide how to organize and run their club and what projects and activities to carry out.  Our Rotary Club sponsors two clubs – one at the UW-Madison that was formed in 2002, and one on the Edgewood College campus that was formed in 2008.

Rotaract clubs organize local hands-on service projects, they have fun networking and social activities, they provide professional development opportunities for their members, and they have an international network of young leaders.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in our Rotary Club’s Rotaract Advisory Committee, contact the Rotary office to sign up (rotaryoffice@rotarymadison.org or 255-9164).

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